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Wednesday, June 26 2013
The Levites Of Christ
"The Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith"
The Levites were the descendants of Levi, who was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria), who the LORD God (Who was later born as Jesus Christ; see The Kingdom Of The LORD God) renamed as "Israel" (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel).
"2:1 These are the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, 2:2 Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher." (1 Chronicles 2:1-2 KJV)
Moses and Aaron were Levites, not Jews ("Jew" is merely an abbreviation of Judah; Moses and Aaron were descendants of Levi, not Judah; see Are Levites 'Jews'?).
"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
After the Exodus, the Levites were established as the priesthood, for the service to the LORD at the mobile Tabernacle (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Tabernacle), and then later at the Temple (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple) in Jerusalem.
"28:1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Exodus 28:1 KJV)
Unlike all of the other tribes of Israel, the Levites, as the priesthood, were not given a tribal territory of their own. Instead, in the time of Joshua (see Joshua: Crossing The Jordan), the Levites were given towns and surrounding lands throughout the other tribes of Israel.
"21:1 Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel; 21:2 And they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The LORD commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle. 21:3 And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs." (Joshua 21:1-3 KJV)
When Israel divided into two separate kingdoms, "Israel" and "Judah" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), from their properties throughout the other tribes, the Levites became citizens of two kingdoms. They were united again however when the first king of Israel, Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel), created a heathen national religion for himself (just as most nations have done for themselves today) and made the Levites unwelcome. The Levites left Israel (who later became the "lost ten tribes"; see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes) and moved south to the Kingdom of Judah. The result was that there were no Levites in the lost ten tribes (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?), and all of the Levites eventually became known as "Jews" - not because they were of the tribe of Judah, but because they became citizens of the Kingdom of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah) and because they became adherents of the religion of Judah, Judaism (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism), that developed after Israel was divided into Israel and Judah (see Israel Never Knew Purim, Hanukkah Or Judaism).
"11:13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. 11:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD: 11:15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 11:16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers." (2 Chronicles 11:13-16 KJV)
The Kingdom of Israel went into exile and oblivion (again, see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes). About 130 years after Israel's fall, the Kingdom of Judah was taken away into their Babylonian exile - a prescribed seventy years exile (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Back To Babylon). When Judah (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi) returned, it was done under the leadership of the Levites (see also Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem).
"1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Many people have come to view the priesthood at the time of the coming of the Messiah as a group of men who rejected and killed the Lamb of God. Many indeed did so, while under the control of the religious/political parties such as the Pharisees and Sadducees (see Why Did The Sadducees Fear The Messiah?, although some of them were converted early too - see The Passed Over Pharisees, What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16? and Joseph and Nicodemus: Making A Stand), however there were some, and then increasingly more, of the Levitical priests who did recognize the Messiah and who became followers of Him. Among them was Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (see Ahead Of The Prophet), and then John the Baptist himself - "baptism" itself originated as a Levitical observance by the Levites in their service to the LORD (see The Origin of Baptism).
"1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
Many other Levite priests became followers of the Messiah.
"6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." (Acts 6:7 KJV)
Barnabas, who supervised the conversion of Saul the Pharisee into the apostle Paul (see The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas), was a Levite (Paul was a Benjamite; see Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?).
"4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:31-37 KJV)
Fact Finder: Why did Jesus Christ create the Levite Priesthood? Is the Messiah Himself the fulfillment of the High Priest?
This Day In History, June 26
221: Roman Emperor Elagabalus adopted his cousin Alexander Severus, thereby making him the heir to the title of Caesar (a title that originated from the family name of Julius Caesar (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
363: The Roman Emperor Julian was killed by an arrow during a clash with Persian cavalry (Persia is known today as Iran; see also Ancient Empires - Persia). Jovian, a Roman general, was proclaimed Emperor by the battlefield troops (see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
1097: The armies of the First Crusade (1096-1099) occupied the ancient Byzantine city of Nicea (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1243: The Seljuk Turkish army in Asia Minor was decimated by the Mongols.
1409: The Church of Rome entered a "double schism" when Petros Philargos was made Pope Alexander V - along with Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon, France (see The Struggle For The Papacy; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1483: Richard III of England began his rule, after deposing his nephew Edward V. Edward and his brother Richard were later murdered.
1541: Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conqueror of Peru, was assassinated in his palace.
1794: The Austrians were defeated by the French at Fleurus, halting their conquest of Belgium.
1843: Hong Kong was proclaimed a British crown colony.
1870: "Christmas" was declared a Federal holiday in the U.S.A. (see Could Santa Claus Have Become The Pope?).
1917: The first U.S. troops entered battle during the First World War, which began over 2 years earlier, in 1914 (the U.S. entered the Second World, in December of 1941, also over 2 years after it began, in September 1939; listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1936: The first flight of the German Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first functional helicopter.
1945: The United Nations Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, succeeding the League of Nations.
1959: The St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting Canadian and U.S. ports on the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Eisenhower.
1974: The Universal Product Code, for automatically price-scanning goods, went into commercial service.
1976: The CN Tower in Toronto, the world's tallest free-standing structure, opened.
1995: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak survived an assassination attempt unharmed when gunmen sprayed bullets at his armored limousine in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
2003: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sodomy laws (as found in the Holy Bible) are unconstitutional in the U.S.A.